2019 - Anne and Paul

Mothers teaching sons - Paul to SMH, 23 Jan 19 (Published) 23/1/2019

Why, Maggie Cooper (Letters, 22 Jan) is it the mother who has responsibility for inculcating proper and decent values in her sons? I should have thought the father has at least an equal if not a greater role to play in that regard. ​


Stop it, junk junkies - Anne to SMH, published, 10 Jan 19 

This letter was published, but in such a mutilated version as to be almost useless. First, the original:

Subject: De cluttering

The first world trend of decluttering (The Kondo Effect SMH 9th Jan) is good for businesses which supply skips. It sounds like it might or might not be good for sellers of vintage and second hand objects. It’s been really, really good financially for Marie Kondo and it’s a relief to the over consumers who turn minimalist However, it’s really, really bad for the planet. Where does all the resultant junk from over consumption end up? I know some ends up in smoke. For example 28 million pounds worth of over supply from luxury fashion house Burberry was incinerated in 2017/18. All the natural resources that went into making millions of fashion items, including cosmetics, ended up as air polluting waste. I walk in an area where most houses have one if not two garages. The inhabitants’ cars are mostly parked on the street while their garages are full to the rafters with rarely used stuff. When is the (currently) un endangered species going to wake up and take responsibility for itself and the environment and all the other inhabitants of Planet Earth? Even before we start making silly discretionary purchases we are trashing the earth. How many empty tubes of toothpaste, for example, windup in landfill each year? At least toothpaste is something we need. I don’t want to even consider the impact of the disposable nappy which is something that is mostly not needed. This craziness needs to stop. People! Just say NO! Stop being junk junkies.

The heavily-edited published version:

Stop it, junk junkies

The first-world trend of decluttering ("The Kondo effect sparks a declutter frenzy", January 9) is good for businesses which supply skips. It sounds as though it might or might not be good for sellers of vintage and second-hand objects. It's been really, really good financially for Marie Kondo and it's a relief to the over-consumers who turn minimalist. Where does all the resultant junk from over-consumption end up? I know some ends up in smoke, and I walk in an area where most houses have one if not two garages. The inhabitants' cars are mostly parked on the street while their garages are full to the rafters with rarely used stuff. When is the (currently) un-endangered species going to wake up and take responsibility for itself and the environment and all the other inhabitants of Planet Earth? Stop being junk junkies.


USE OF ENGLISH - Paul to SMH, 23 Jan 2019

Being an over-40 English-language migrant, I don’t fit either of Phil Rodwell’s categories (Letters, 23 Jan), but I am “fastidious” to the point of complaining at your use of “incalcating” in my letter published this morning, (at least in the online version). Readers will think I don’t know the correct word. You may have sacked all your proof-readers and sub-editors, but even my spell-check insists on “inculcating”.


Rouse Hill new hospital announcement, Paul to SMH, 1 Feb 2019

On 16 October 2012, Brad Hazzard, then Planning Minister, gave the go-ahead to building the Northern Beaches Hospital in what the “robust qualitative analysis” in NSW Health’s own Development Options Business Case had determined as coming a distant third out of the six sites considered.

Associated roadworks that were originally to cost $21.3 M and were to be finished by the time the hospital opened, progressively escalated to a published figure of $500 M. They are now well over a year behind schedule and heaven knows how much over budget.

Meanwhile the formerly pleasant residential suburb of Frenchs Forest has been devastated.

If Hazzard can do that to his own electorate, the good citizens of Rouse Hill would be well advised to be on their guard. You have been warned!


When is wrong-doing not wrong-doing? - Paul to SMH, 19 Feb 2019

Your lead story this morning about Senator Cormann’s Singapore holiday contains a couple of statements such as “The Age and Sydney Morning Herald are not accusing Senator Cormann or Mr Burnes of any wrongdoing.”

Either the whole point of the story is about wrongdoing, or there is no story. You can’t have it both ways.


CONTEMPORARY ENGLISH - Paul to SMH, 25 Feb 2019

In the context of your many letters about the modern use of language, can someone please tell me what “set” means, as in this morning’s headline “Ita Buttrose set to be new ABC chair”?

My interpretation is “Someone anonymous with a big mouth and probably some private agenda has breached confidentiality to tell us that there’s a chance Ita Buttrose will be the new ABC chair, and we’re prepared to print that, even though no decision has been made so it remains speculation.”

I agree that “set” is shorter, but really ...!


GARBAGE - Paul to MD, 25 Feb 2019

Northern Beaches Council promotes the new garbage collection contract as “smarter (whatever that means?), greener, safer and cleaner”. That’s great, but “quieter” would make it even better.

Noise is an environmental pollutant that civic planners seem no longer to care about.


Protection from ‘Buy now, pay later’ - Paul to SMH, 6 Mar 2019

“We’re doing a lot of mopping up in this space,” says the CEO of Good Shepherd Microfinance. The call is for nanny-state legislation, to help protect the gullible from themselves.

Any form of prevention is better than cure. But surely the best prevention is to educate the young in how to manage personal finances.

1. Live within your means.

2. Save to provide for an uncertain future.

3. Distinguish between assets likely to appreciate and those that lose value from the day you buy them.

That’s not too hard, should take up no more than a period of school time.


The place of women - Paul to SMH, 10 Mar 2019

Our Prime Minister’s stupid, despicable remarks about women not displacing men has one notable exception, as highlighted by the ABC Chair appointment. It’s called cronyism.


NSW Planning conditions ignored - Paul to SMH, 15 Apr 2019

WestConnex is not the only example of a ministerial condition being breached. The N Beaches Hospital approval included the stipulation that the access to Warringah Road should be “left in, left out only”, but it has been built to include a right turn out.

Referral to the Compliance section of NSW Planning predictably drew a blank. After all, they all play for the same LNP team, so one part isn’t going to stop the other part doing whatever it wants. It’s a systemic problem which shows the planning process for public works to be an utter sham.


N Beaches Hospital re waiting times “the inside story” - Paul to SMH, 12 Jun 2019

I presented at the NBH Emergency last Monday at 7.40am, having had a fall. By midday it had been decided that I had 3 bad fractures in my left hand, which would require admission for surgery, to take place “ASAP”, probably that afternoon. By 11.00pm it was cancelled for that day and pushed into Tuesday (ie yesterday) and it eventually took place about 4.00pm. I expect to be discharged later today.

Issues highlighted during this period have been:

a) it took over 8 hours for a doctor to respond to a ward request for a cannula to be put in my hand to enable me to be put on a saline drip, with the result that I had 27.5 hours absolute dehydration;

b) scheduling of surgery seems to be a lottery, eg I was finally called for surgery less than 5 mins after being told I would have to wait a further 1.5 hours;

c) communications are non-existent - I just had to lie in wait with no idea when or if surgery would happen;

d) food “out of hours” (this is a 24x7operation) is a couple of unhealthy sandwiches, even post surgery, by which time I had virtually nothing to eat for almost 48 hours;

e) the building is inadequate, eg sound-proofing between wards is non-existent, and the staff have numerous examples of poor design and equipment;

f) It’s hard to say whether they are understaffed or it’s more a matter of bad systems and communications, I suspect both. Certainly everything seems to take an eternity. Last night I even had to ring the main hospital number to get put through to my ward to get a nurse to come and see me.

g) Certainly there are plenty of disgruntled staff.

Having said which, as far as I can judge, the medical treatment I have received has been thorough and good.


Re Brad Hazzard Memorial Folly (aka NBH) - Paul to MD, 13 Jun 2019

This week I spent from 7.40am Monday to 2.50pm Wednesday in the N Beaches Hospital.

It took Emergency Department just over 4 hours to process, examine, x-ray, and diagnose me, and decide on treatment, which was surgery. From that point it took 27 hours to reach theatre, for all but 1 hour of which I was fasting. It took over 8 hours for a doctor to respond to a ward request to insert a cannula for a saline drip to minimise my dehydration. Mostly I was just lying, waiting, not knowing when my operation might take place. I was finally taken to theatre barely 5 minutes after being told I would have to wait a further 1.5 hours.

The place is a shambles. Everything takes for ever. Lack of communication, poor systems (so much paperwork!), deficiencies in building quality and design, and probably inadequate staffing, all contribute. Worst of all is catering - “out of hours” you can have a couple of unhealthy sandwiches, but how can a 24x7 operation have “out of hours”?

The problems aren’t medical, and the Emergency Department does not deserve be the scapegoat. Brad’s “teething troubles” are well and truly abscessed.


Schoolgirl hit by car in rush hour (MD, 24 July) - Paul to MD, 24 July 2019

Berejiklian and Hazzard would have us believe the Northern Beaches Hospital is “state of the art, world class”. But when someone is injured perhaps 300 metres away, a helicopter is required to convey the victim elsewhere. Ludicrous!


Hospital road work - Paul to MD, 7 Aug 2019

Your item (MD, 7 Aug, p8) on the Warringah Road “slot” is misleading on two counts.

First, the cost figure of $500 M was published over two years ago. The scheduled completion date was “in time for the opening of the hospital”, which happened in late October 2018. You now tell us that completion will be “2020".

A more specific date and an updated costing would have been more informative, particularly for those of us whose lives continue to be impacted by the delay.


Harry & Meghan - Paul to SMH, 25 Oct 2019

Dawn Hope (Letters, 25 Oct) misses the point. The royals, and others in the public eye, should be able to expect NOT to have lies and malicious, unkind, unfounded gossip published about them. Public attention and scrutiny, yes, but let it be fair and factual, honest and unbiased, even respectful. In other words, basic human decency.


NYE FIREWORKS, Paul to SMH, 30 Dec 2019

The discussion of the NYE fireworks issue misses the point. Of course it is a waste of money which could be put to better use. Of course safety is important. But above all it is insensitive, disrespectful, bordering on immoral, to be glorifying fire in any shape or form while huge areas of the country are ablaze, firefighters are struggling valiantly with inadequate resources, people have died and many others have lost their homes or livelihoods.


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